July 29, 2012 — Rep. Rashad Taylor, deputy whip for the House Democratic Caucus, filed the first financial disclosure for his 2012 campaign at 9 p.m. last night, three weeks after it was due. The filing included $9,100 in previously undisclosed donations, but he still hasn’t accounted for more than $15,000 that other candidates and political committees say they’ve given him since 2009.
July 24, 2012 — For a guy who votes to pass laws, Rep. Rashad Taylor sure has a hard time obeying them. Under Georgia law, Taylor’s disclosure of personal finances was due June 9. Six weeks later, he hadn’t filed it. (UPDATE: He filed it July 25, a day after this article was posted.) He’s filed just two of seven disclosures of campaign finances due since June 2010. Neither reports any contributions, even though registered donors reported giving him $15,000-plus in that time. Nor do Taylor’s disclosures report any expenditures, so the public has no clue what he may have done with the money that he hasn’t reported collecting.
State legislators say they welcome transparency regarding their personal finances — corporate and real estate holdings, government contracts and the like.But who decides what constitutes transparency? Who checks whether they’re telling us all that we’re entitled to know? They do. Just as war is too important to be left to the generals, transparency is too important to be left to the politicians.
Lawrenceville attorney Tammy Lynn Adkins got 735,000 votes Nov. 2 for a seat on the Georgia Supreme Court without spending a nickel. But she still hasn’t explained what she did with nearly $40,000 from her previous political campaign. Adkins will have to explain it to the State Ethics Commission, in response to an ethics complaint filed a couple weeks ago.
John F. Douglas, a three-term state senator from Social Circle, says he made $113,000 and change last year. That includes his salaries as a legislator ($31,741, including per diem) and as a field rep for the Peace Officers Association of Georgia, military retirement and his wife’s salary.
Gubernatorial candidate Eric Johnson neglected to report $289,000 in state payments to his architectural firm from 1999 to 2002, the Associated Press reports. But Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond can go him one better: He hasn’t disclosed anything whatsoever since 2007. (UPDATE: On May 27, Thurmond filed the disclosures that were due in 2008 or 2009. A spokesman described the omission as “a simple oversight” and then called me an idiot.)
Candidates for the Georgia Legislature must disclose certain info about their personal finances within 15 days of qualifying for office. Apparently, no one explained that to Ron Dodson or Donzella James. Disclosure forms ask for basic information about a candidate’s job, business and real estate holdings and those of their spouses. The general idea is that voters can find out whether a politician’s public and private interests conflict. Legislators this year delined to raise the penalty for not filing, which remains at 75 bucks.
Hugh Floyd, a state legislator from Norcross, filed a disclosure of his personal finances a week ago, two months after the deadline set by state law. That still leaves 15 legislators who haven’t filed their 2008 disclosures, which were due July 1; five of them have not filed their 2007 reports, either. Why is this important? It’s not, unless you want to know whether your elected officials are keeping a proper distance between the public interest and their own private interests.
More than $90,000 improperly paid to U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal’s chief of staff has wound up in the hands of a Gainesville charity. Chris Riley, Deal’s top congressional aide, had to return the money to the campaign last year because the payments exceeded outside income limits for highly paid Congressional staffers. Deal’s latest disclosure report, filed April 15, shows the congressman’s campaign wrote a check in February for $91,124 to Good News at Noon.
The State Ethics Commission will lose about 30 percent of its current funding in the 2010 state budget passed Friday. The Georgia House and Senate compromised on a $1.2 million budget for the agency in negotiations on the last day of the 2009 legislative session. The House last week slashed spending on ethics enforcement to […]